While the financial sector is still sitting in the red so far this morning, Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC ) is being bandied about, turning from red to green and back again for much of the first hour of trading. That puts it above peers Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) and Citigroup (NYSE: C ) , both of which have been in negative territory so far today.
It's really not surprising that Wells' two pals are exhibiting malaise today. Citi was stung badly earlier this week with a particularly nasty research note from Charles Peabody, who sees the giant bank losing up to $7 billion on currency market swings this year. Bank of America has kept its stock price above $13 this week, though it has had good days and bad, depending upon the news coming out of the Article 77 hearing currently under way in Manhattan.
For its part, Wells has had more than its fair share of analyst attention this week, which may account for its staying below the $41 per share mark that it achieved late last week. On Wednesday, Atlantic Equities downgraded Wells to Underweight, mostly because the analyst saw concern with a slowdown in mortgage refinancing, a well-known moneymaker for Wells.
Earlier today, Sterne Agee dropped Wells from Buy to Neutral, while Jeffries is maintaining its Buy rating after meeting with Wells' management. The analyst group also raised its target price from $42 to $44 per share, noting that the bank has enough income diversity to continue growing earnings per share in future quarters.
Phew. That's a lot of analyst interest for one week, so Wells may be excused if its price experiences a little volatility today -- but don't let it spoil your weekend. As Foolish investors well know, a snapshot look at any given stock, taken in isolation, can be detrimental to the long-term view. The big picture, as always, is what really matters, and the normal ups and downs of the market are something that investors with their eyes on the prize take into consideration, knowing that these hills and valleys are just part of the business of intelligent, long-term investing.
Wells Fargo's dedication to solid, conservative banking helped it vastly outperform its peers during the financial meltdown. Today, Wells is the same great bank as ever, but with its stock trading at a premium to the rest of the industry, is there still room to buy, or is it time to cash in your gains? To help figure out whether Wells Fargo is a buy today, I invite you to download our premium research report from one of The Motley Fool's top banking analysts. Click here now for instant access to this in-depth take on Wells Fargo.